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Definition of Subjective Well-Being and Social Well-Being

Discuss about the Early and Midlife Predictors of Wisdom.

Philosophical reflections on the quality of life in recent times owe a debt to the burgeoning science of subjective well-being. Subjective well being is perceived as the affective and cognitive evaluations of a person of his life. Philosophers are putting in efforts to examine the psychology of human flourishing. Though the term ‘subjective wellbeing’ has not yet taken a significant place in the philosophical dictionary, an increasing body of interest is being witnessed regarding the subjective dimensions of human welfare and interests management. The relationship between subjective well-being and social well-being has received increased attention in the recent past (Ngamaba et al. 2017). The present essay reflects on the concept that “subjective well-being” is burgeoning. It first defines the concept of subjective well being and thereafter examines the relationship it has with social well-being. Evidence correlating to the wellbeing of an individual over the expected span of his life is considered in the analysis.

Subjective well being is defined as the degree of life satisfaction and happiness that an individual experiences during his life time (Heintzelman and Tay 2017). As per the authors, subjective well being is to be perceived as a multidimensional aspect that encompasses negative and positive emotions and feelings such as pleasure, guilt, anger, depression, as well as satisfaction. Different elements of desirable psychological functioning, like purpose, competence and autonomy, are also to be perceived as a part of subjective well being. Diener et al. (2017) put forward the definition of subjective well being as the well being that reflects the positive evaluations of an individual regarding his satisfaction level, emotions, the meaning of life and engagement management. Such form of wellbeing is a broad category of incidents and phenomena wherein the emotional responses of an individual is included along with judgements of life satisfaction. Each of the constructs mentioned has their importance,e yet they are to be correlated with each other. Ngamaba et al. (2017) consider the notion of subjective well-being to be a hybrid concept that emerges from two distinct components; “experienced well-being” and “evaluated well-being”. It is to be noted that each of the components is personal and consign to a time of allusion.

Reconciling the different definitions coming up for subjective wellbeing, Newman, Tay and Diener (2014) explain subjective well being as the stable mental state, taking into consideration all of the different positive and negative evaluations that people often make of their lives, and the reactions they give under different situations. The authors clarify the three components of subjective well being, to be measured independently, as life evaluation, affect and eudaimonia. While life evaluation refers to the reflective assessments of an individual’s life as a whole, affect refers to the particular feelings associated with life, such as contentment, happiness, ager, fear and depression. Eudaimonia is a diverse construct, referring to feelings of meaning and purpose in life.

Relationship between Subjective Well-Being and Social Well-Being

Subjective wellbeing has been recently discussed in light of social well being, and philosophers from across the world are coming forward to gather deeper insight into the relation between subjective wellbeing and social well being. Measure for subjective wellbeing are helpful in complementing the broader measures of wellbeing of an individual; however, it can never be replacing them. Social wellbeing comes into the limelight in this context as the relationship between subjective and social well being are of much value (Lee, Chung and Park 2016). Social wellbeing is defined as the extent to which an individual perceives a sense of social inclusion and belonging during his life span. The notion is that a connected person is thought to be a supported person in the social setting. Lifestyles, value systems, beliefs and traditions are all significant for the quality of life and social wellbeing. Involvement with individuals within the same social setting is rewarding, and there is a marked influence of such social engagement of the broader wellbeing, that is subjective wellbeing (Helliwell, Layard and Sachs 2014).

As highlighted by Buunk, Gibbons and Buunk (2013) positive social wellbeing brought about by social relationships gives freedom to an individual to retain and express his feelings and emotions. In addition to making a positive and affirmative influence on the wellbeing, social networks and contacts assist in creating a proper direction of life towards the gaols to be achieved. Enhancement of capability to express one’s self and engage in personal creative activities is a prime outcome of strong social wellbeing. Siedlecki et al. (2014) in this regard has stated that social wellbeing is the state of social peace, social stability and relationships. People are mutually dependent on each other and rely on others at different stages of life. As people crave for love and affection, healthy social relationships are boon, while unstable social relationships are the opposite. Solitary confinement has a negative impact on individuals’ mind, taking a toll on overall wellbeing, that is subjective wellbeing. Social intelligence factors such as morals, emotional intelligence, empathy, adaptability, upbringing, and altruism, are imperative to promote social well-being. Such form of well-being also comes from trust, freedom and equal rights.

It has been proven on the basis of statistical analysis of population data that people are having a good social connection are healthier, both physically and mentally, and tend to live longer as compared to those who do not have a robust social connection. Social health is determined by positive and regular social contact with friends, family members, educational and work groups. Social contact and belongingness might also come from community groups, special interest and volunteer organisations. These settings provide opportunities for exchange of information, views and opinions, and ideas and concepts, that guide the thought process of an individual. Life satisfaction has been found to be predicted by perceived and enacted support from social aspects. While positive affect is determined by family embeddedness and support provided, negative affect is determined by perceived support (Kok et al. 2013).

Impact of Social Relationships on Life Course

The profound impact of social relationships on the wellbeing of an individual can be tracked throughout the life course. Siedlecki et al. (2014) in their research focused on the impact of institutions and communities that surround a young adult within the social context. The quality and strengths of social affect the forms of interactions that a youth experiences, which in turn influence his life course options and choice of role models. Adolescence is to be considered as a discrete, formative stage, wherein social relationships guide how an individual would prioritise his duties and responsibilities. Supportive relationships are pivotal for empowering youth towards a bright future marked by the achievement of personal goals. For an individual entering the work-life phase, social wellbeing determines his attitude towards life and his professional and personal development management.  Social settings providing negative messages regarding capabilities and competencies lead to emotional distress and anguish. Emotional security has been linked with a positive belief upheld by adolescents that resolution to personal problems is easier to achieve. Patterns of transience within the social context is another factor that influences development and mentality of a young adult and a mature adult (Gomez et al. 2017). Disruptions in regular engagement in social connectedness is a reason of stress, hampering autonomy and independence. Further, the absence of opportunities of growth compels an individual to suffer negative feelings such as frustrations, anger and disappointment.

The association between social wellbeing and subjective well-being are more complex in older ages. Older adults are at higher risk of suffering social isolation and loneliness due to the major events taking place at later stages of life. These include retirement, the death of spouse and poor health. The association between social wellbeing and subjective wellbeing is more evident under such conditions. As older adults experience emotional turmoil, they long for emotional support and care. Positive changes in the size of the social network are what these individuals look forward to. Research highlights that social isolation and loneliness at this point of life are detrimental to the overall wellbeing of an individual (Ardelt, Gerlach and Vaillant 2017). Wong et al. (2014) argue that older age is related to a view of time being restricted. Therefore the life goals pertaining to emotional regulation are to be prioritised. This is the cause of enhanced focus on establishing close relationships. However, failure in close relationships cause distress and is linked with lower levels of well-being. Dissatisfaction with relationships would also be particularly detrimental to well-being.

Implications for Young and Mature Adults

From the above essay, it can be concluded that subjective wellbeing is the wellbeing comprising a judgemental-cognitive dimension that reflects emotional evaluation and life satisfaction characterised by the negative and positive effect. Research has determined that subjective wellbeing leads to important outcomes in an individual’s life. One of the most consistent and significant predictors of subjective wellbeing is the quality of social relationships, more specifically social wellbeing. Drawing conclusion from research, it can be highlighted that individuals are having social relationships that are satisfying and relate to positive feelings, report being more content with their life as compared to those who do not have such relationships. Social wellbeing has been marked as a positive driving force for subjective wellbeing. The possible reasons for the benefits of social wellbeing are social support and enhanced expectancy. Social wellbeing, indicated by social relationships, is therefore linked with subjective wellbeing. The association between the two components vary in degree throughout the life span of an individual, augmenting the importance they hold.

References

Ardelt, M., Gerlach, K. and Vaillant, G., 2017. Early and midlife predictors of wisdom and subjective well-being in old age. Innovation in Aging, 1(suppl_1), pp.1059-1059.

Buunk, B.P., Gibbons, F.X. and Buunk, A. eds., 2013. Health, coping, and well-being: Perspectives from social comparison theory. Psychology Press.

Diener, E., Heintzelman, S.J., Kushlev, K., Tay, L., Wirtz, D., Lutes, L.D. and Oishi, S., 2017. Findings all psychologists should know from the new science on subjective well-being. Canadian Psychology/psychologie canadienne, 58(2), p.87.

Gómez, D.O., Casas, F., Inzunza, J.A. and Costa, P.A., 2017. School and Neighborhood: Influences of Subjective Well-Being in Chilean Children. In Psychosocial Well-being of Children and Adolescents in Latin America (pp. 153-165). Springer International Publishing.

Heintzelman, S.J. and Tay, L., 2017. Subjective Well-Being. Positive Psychology: Established and Emerging Issues, p.2.

Helliwell, J.F., Layard, R. and Sachs, J., 2014. World happiness report 2013.

Kok, B.E., Coffey, K.A., Cohn, M.A., Catalino, L.I., Vacharkulksemsuk, T., Algoe, S.B., Brantley, M. and Fredrickson, B.L., 2013. How positive emotions build physical health: Perceived positive social connections account for the upward spiral between positive emotions and vagal tone. Psychological science, 24(7), pp.1123-1132.

Lee, S., Chung, J.E. and Park, N., 2016. Linking cultural capital with subjective well-being and social support: The role of communication networks. Social Science Computer Review, 34(2), pp.172-196.

Newman, D.B., Tay, L. and Diener, E., 2014. Leisure and subjective well-being: A model of psychological mechanisms as mediating factors. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(3), pp.555-578.

Ngamaba, K.H., Panagioti, M. and Armitage, C.J., 2017. How strongly related are health status and subjective well-being? Systematic review and meta-analysis. The European Journal of Public Health, 27(5), pp.879-885.

Siedlecki, K.L., Salthouse, T.A., Oishi, S. and Jeswani, S., 2014. The relationship between social support and subjective well-being across age. Social indicators research, 117(2), pp.561-576.

Wong, C.F., Schrager, S.M., Holloway, I.W., Meyer, I.H. and Kipke, M.D., 2014. Minority stress experiences and psychological well-being: The impact of support from and connection to social networks within the Los Angeles house and ball communities. Prevention Science, 15(1), pp.44-55.

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